August 24th, 2011
06:33 PM ET

Alaska's 'Hot-sauce Mom' convicted of child abuse

An Alaska mother's segment on "Dr. Phil" has landed her with the possibility of a jail sentence.

Jessica Beagley was found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse Tuesday. In November, she appeared on the talk show to discuss a video she had submitted of her disciplinary method, in which she had her then 6-year-old son hold hot sauce in his mouth and take a cold shower, said Anchorage prosecutor Cynthia Franklin. The video, which Beagley had e-mailed to the show in November 2009, ignited a debate about whether the tactic constituted abuse.

In the episode, which aired on November 17, 2010, host Phil McGraw challenges Beagley, calling the discipline over-the-top, outrageous and abusive. Authorities launched an investigation on the same day the episode, called "Mommy Confessions," aired.

Beagley's sentencing is scheduled for Monday. She could face a up to year in jail and fine of up to $10,000. Franklin said she was unable to provide any more commentary on the case, because Beagley's sentence is still pending.

The segment featured a home movie of Beagley punishing her son for getting in trouble at school and lying about it. In confessional-style explanations, Beagley provided commentary, saying she had tried other methods of discipline, including time outs and spankings, but to no avail.

"He'll turn and look at you like, 'Is that all you've got?'" Beagley said.

Beagley said on the episode that she had first tried putting soap in her son's mouth, but it had no effect.

"I want him to obey and listen and to understand the consequences of his choices," Beagley said.

On the website for "Dr. Phil," McGraw appears in a supplemental video, calling Beagley's case "extreme" and saying that Beagley needs "a wake-up call."

"I hope it makes all of us stop and grade our papers about how we're doing as parents," McGraw said.

According to a Ria Novosti article in January, the month Beagley was charged, Russian authorities in the United States are monitoring the case because Beagley adopted her son and his twin brother from Russia.

Beagley's lawyer, William Ingaldson, said a representative from the Russian consulate in Seattle had since visited the family and was satisfied with the home environment.

The Beagleys, who have six children, adopted the twins from Russia when they were 5, Ingaldson said. The boy who was punished in the video has reactive attachment disorder, a behavioral problem that makes effective discipline difficult, as the child has a "survival" mentality, Ingaldson said. The disorder can occur when a child does not bond with a parent within the early years of life and affects the sense of right and wrong.

Ingaldson said his client mistakenly went on "Dr. Phil" to find a way to effectively get through to her son, knowing her methods were not working.

"The show isn't about getting you help," Ingaldson said. "It's about ratings."

Since Beagley appeared on the show, she and her son have been going to therapy and the boy's behavior is showing improvements, Ingaldson said. The family will make a decision about an appeal after Monday's sentencing.

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Filed under: Alaska • Child safety • Courts • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzz

    WELLUP, goodnight all ... I still have to view the rest of a interview about the BEST cover-up against humanity,
    clue: IMF, IRAQ, AND OIL

    August 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe

    My lover gets whatever she wants It makes me happy making her happy Occasionally we grace the best joint in town Other times we go to the greaceyist coneyisland there is It all depends where my baby wants to go

    August 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gung hoe

    You are banasy you are Hopein i woukd find ya you are good to talk to even though your from chicago

    August 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    @Joey: I thought it was funny, and you made Jazzzz laugh. banasy thought it was funny too. Joey, you don't have a mean bone in your body-thanks for the laugh.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gung hoe

    Well Im a light weight wuss tonight good night people luv ya

    August 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    Good night gung, sleep like a log.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Good night, all.
    I'm going to wuss out too.
    *Yawn* Zzzzzzzzzzz

    @Jazzzzz: you said it right. 😉

    @gung hoe: hey! I resemble that remark about Chitown! 🙂

    August 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gatelock

    Thank goodness she was busted. I can't believe she would send in a tape of her monstrous behavior but I am glad she did. And if anyone out there went through this and thought it was not a big deal... you need help.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Maquark

    i'm not gonna lie, this sounds like something to try someday lol i wouldn't put up with my mom's crap if she did this though. i'd get back with hot sauce in her toothpaste or something. muahahaha cough

    August 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    @Maquark: LMAO at your cough.. cracked me up!!

    August 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jackie

    The article says that since the show the boy is in therapy is is improving! WHAT ABOUT THE MOTHER???

    August 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. K Savino

    The image of that horrible looking woman-she scares me with that face and clown hair-will remain frozen in that child's memory forever. He will grow up in fear and hatred. He and his brother need to be taken away from her immediately and sent back to Russia with love to find the right deserving family to love them through their pain. Twin boys are a gift from God and should have been cherished. She should be sterilized so she can never torture another child-how does she treat her pets?

    August 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mr SandyK

    I think I am too late but Hello to JIF banasy and jazzzzzzz I hope all is great with you, anita baker sweet love great. had a rough couple weeks took my lady down to grandfathers mt. she is in the mountains she loves. but God is good and I am blessed, hope you are feeling it too!

    August 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Mr K ...Ahhh yes, I'm feeling too. God is all that and house that ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alternative Sauce

    Religious leaders who have been charged with putting their own personal sauce in the behinds of boys, are in a bit of a legal dilemna. If they don't admit to being gay, the prosecuting attorney will have no trouble showing the jury that these priest's could have controlled themselves around boys, because they did so around girls. A jury might understand a gay man having trouble with his urges for other males. But they would never believe a straight man who had demonstrated an ability to control himself time and time again, but chose to prey on boys anyway.

    August 25, 2011 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
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